It hasn’t been a good season for Chelsea, but they could still change that if they finish it with a flourish.
A top-four spot looks out of reach for Graham Potter and co, but they could still qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning it this year.
With a tough draw making that a tall order though, they’ll be giving their all in the Premier League too to try and ensure they at least secure a Europa League spot.
Both Chelsea and Aston Villa appointed new managers early on this season, but the change only had the desired effect for one of them with Unai Emery doing well but Graham Potter struggling.
As a result of those differing fortunes, the two clubs are much closer together in the table than Blues fans would like, but the hosts can change that by picking up their fifth consecutive win over their opponents.
Chelsea aren’t the only Premier League giant that will be glad to see the back of this season with Liverpool enduring a disappointing campaign too.
The last game between the two, a 0-0 draw in January, was a grim affair, and both Potter and Jurgen Klopp will be aiming to show that they’ve made progress with their respective sides since then.
Potter’s second Premier League match as Chelsea manager was against Wolves and it went well, with his side winning claiming a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
The midlands side were without a manager for that game though and are in better shape now with Julen Lopetegui leading them to some impressive wins since taking over, including victories against Liverpool and Tottenham.
The last round of the Champions League gave Potter his finest moment yet as Chelsea manager, and the next one will give him his toughest task.
His side showed in their win against Borussia Dortmund that they can go toe to toe with some of Europe’s best on their day, but doing so against reigning champions Real Madrid will be another kettle of fish entirely.
They say every break-up has a winner, and Brighton have certainly had a happier time of things than Potter since the manager left the club for Chelsea in September.
Under Roberto De Zerbi, they’ve beaten their former boss and, unlike his new side, have put themselves well into the mix for Champions League qualification.
They haven’t lost to Chelsea in almost two years now and won’t be heading into this match as big underdogs.
Chelsea and Real Madrid are familiar foes having met in the Champions League knockout stages in the previous two campaigns before being drawn together this season too.
Both ties were close ones with neither side able to win both legs on either occasion; Chelsea ultimately prevailed in 2021 while Real Madrid progressed last year.